Offshore renewable energy and nature conservation: the case of marine tidal turbines in Northern Ireland

Haslett, John R.; Garcia-Llorente, Marina; Harrison, Paula A. ORCID:; Li, Sen; Berry, Pam M.. 2018 Offshore renewable energy and nature conservation: the case of marine tidal turbines in Northern Ireland [in special issue: Effective argumentation for biodiversity conservation in Europe] Biodiversity and Conservation, 27 (7). 1619-1638.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
N515512JA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (2MB) | Preview


The global demand for renewable energy continues to increase rapidly and with it the necessity to develop and test new technologies to deliver the power. Offshore renewable energy sources that harness wind, wave or tidal power are of major interest. Technological advances in these directions have not been matched by a clear understanding of the environmental impacts of the new devices, with most existing research concentrated on the impacts of offshore wind farms. Decisions often continue to be made without the support of a clear evidence base. Here we use an underwater tidal turbine, SeaGen, constructed and operated within the Strangford Lough marine protected area in Northern Ireland, as a case study to explore the potential impacts of the turbine as points of concern and argumentation in the decision-making processes. We use information obtained from official documents and one-to-one interviews with the main stakeholders. Our results demonstrate that during the construction and operation of the turbine the perceptions and views of different stakeholders sometimes disagreed but were often surprisingly similar in relation to both likelihood and intensity of the potential impacts of the turbine on marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being in general. The overall consensus of views was refined and evolved under an adaptive management approach over the 10 years of the discussions and decision-making processes. The results are discussed in relation to cumulative gains in knowledge, future arrays of many underwater turbines and multiple use of oceans within social ecological systems to maintain the conservation of marine biodiversity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 0960-3115
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: adaptive management, decision-making, ecosystem service, marine protected area, stakeholder views, trade-off
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 15 Dec 2016 12:16 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...